John Bartlett, a former independent financial adviser, has set up a company called Policy Investigations, based in Somerset. Policy Investigations says it will give a free opinion on pensions.
Mr Bartlett was a director of the independent financial adviser Bureau of Corporate and Executive Planning. Its authorisation was revoked by Fimbra, the regulator for independent financial advisers, in 1990.
Mr Bartlett then went on to become a member of another Fimbra member, PPA.
PPA, a network of independent financial advisers, was also suspended by Fimbra in 1992, because of the activities of one of its members unconnected with Mr Bartlett. Mr Bartlett left before the PPA network was suspended.
Mr Bartlett said that his company's authorisation had been revoked by Fimbra because he could not meet its financial requirements.
He said: 'I couldn't afford to stay in business.'
Policy Investigations' literature says: 'If in our opinion the pension could have been written differently to the advantage of the purchaser, we will advise free and without obligation.'
The company is aiming at personal pension holders who may have been mistakenly transferred out of their occupational schemes. It also claims that as many as 80 per cent of people who have bought regular premium pensions have been given advice in the interest of the company and the salesperson, and that the client should have been sold a single premium policy.
It says that these people could have a claim against the insurance company or salesperson concerned.
The literature also says: 'Policy Investigations is a new company formed by former independent financial advisers. We will investigate any product governed by the Financial Services Act 1986.'
It adds that the advisers do not give financial advice themselves, 'but will prepare a complaint and act on behalf of the complainant in seeking redress and compensation from advisers, insurance companies, banks and building societies'.
The company does not charge for the initial inquiry, but if it deems that the policyholder has reasonable grounds for complaint (and it expects that 80 per cent will have) then it will offer to take the matter further and press for compensation.
It will then charge a fee - pounds 49 for an individual and pounds 99 for a company. It will also charge up to 15 per cent of any compensation resulting from the investigation.
Policy Investigations makes it clear that it is not authorised to give investment advice and will not recommend particular products.Reuse content